In the end, the visitors proved why they rank among the elite junior teams in the country, extending their current winning streak to 20 games with a 4-3 victory over the Barons.
The matchup played out every bit as tightly as the final score would indicate, with teams trading goals throughout. Markers from Dylan Callaghan (Barons) and Eric Hillock (Thunderbirds) left the teams deadlocked at 1-1 through 20 minutes of play, with the pattern doubling in size in the second period.
Both teams would add a pair of goals to their totals, with Jimmy Roy and Kurtis Clouthier pulling the trigger for Sudbury while Gavin Burbach and Anthony Miller replied for the T-Birds.
The 3-3 stalemate would be solved at 7:43 of the third period as Joey Miller drilled the game-winning goal, spoiling a 35-save effort from Barons netminder Michael Muzyka.
Sudbury native Joel Horodziejczyk extended his personal winning streak to 21 games, making 30 saves for the Thunderbirds.
The only other NOJHL game played on Wednesday was equally as close as the Espanola Rivermen edged the Elliot Lake Bobcats 5-4.
The game against Sault Ste. Marie kicks off a very busy stretch for the Nickel Barons, back on the road on Friday night as they attempt to snap a four-game losing skid against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners before facing the North Bay Trappers in a home-and-home series Saturday and Sunday.